COVID-19 and social distancing have brought many challenges to our daily lives. With so much screen time, many of us are struggling to keep focused and productive. Time Magazine mentioned a study from Microsoft Corp., that found that “people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain”. Therefore, as a social distancing project, I came up with three ways to keep the ideal flow of work and focus. You can apply these tips for your online classes, internship, work, or personal projects.
I am doing all of these things myself. As a disclaimer, as much as they make my quarantine better, quarantine is still quite difficult. It’s important to embrace the emotional hardship of these times and to remember that your value is not based on your productivity. This post covers the third project of the series:
Book a “production-flow” time in your calendar
Block off some weekly time on your calendar to do your high brain effort work. This way, your workflow will not be interrupted by meetings or phone calls. Put your phone away and pause your inbox to allow yourself mental space to tunnel vision important projects.
How to pause your inbox:
Install Boomerang extension for Google Chrome and you’ll always have the pause inbox button available to you. You can pause for a determined time, or indefinitely until you unpause it. You can also open exceptions for pre-determined people, email domains, or emails that contain specific keywords such as “urgent” to be always able to hit your inbox even when it’s paused.
Do a 10-minute guided meditation before you start working
While social distancing, I decided to try meditating for the first time. I was always terrified of the idea of “thinking about nothing” and how difficult that sounds. I didn’t get any closer to that yet, but I found myself in the world of guided meditations in which a meditation expert will guide you through the process from beginning to end. There are plenty of 10-minute meditations focused on increasing productivity and reducing anxiety and stress.
Here’s some guided meditations and playlists to get started on Spotify (YouTube has also plenty of those available):
Take your to-do list out of paper and put it on a Trello board
I have always had problems with my to-do list updated on paper. Never once was I able to use a planner for the whole year; the only thing that was keeping my tasks organized was Google Calendar.
Until I found out about Trello. Trello is a web-based Kanban-style list-making application. Kanban is a method to manage and improve work across human systems. Trello does exactly that with its hundreds of templates of boards, in which you can collaborate with colleagues, add deadlines and reminders, categorize, add labels, and all of that good organizing stuff. You can also create a “Done” section for your board and move stuff there after you’ve completed it.
Pro-tip: Clean your “Done” section every week, as a way to keep your board organized, but also to see how much you were able to accomplish in one week. It brings a much-needed sense of fulfillment during social distancing.
Categories: Career Services